Pasadena, CA asked in Criminal Law for California

Q: Is there such a thing as deferred sentence or other way to avoid a felony criminal record before accepting a plea bargai

This is 2 felonies, no jail time, no voilent crime, no prior record.

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1 Lawyer Answer
David A. Brooks
David A. Brooks
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Placerville, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Sometimes.

In some courts, there is Court or DA "Diversion". It isn't statutory, which means local rules that aren't written anywhere. When the possibility exists, it is a deal that if a defendant jumps through hoops and stays off the radar, there is a better deal (which could be dismissal, but might be a misdemeanor instead of a felony). Where available it is limited to certain kinds of crime, and often only where the DA has a sigificant problem proving the case.

Drug Court completion results in a dismissal, even if the charge is a felony. It takes dedication to complete it. Lots of testing, lots of showing up, lots of having to be somewhere.

There are different ways Felonies can turn into misdemeanors. That can be as an operation of law (PC section 17b), and/or can be part of a plea bargain (contingent on certain requirements being fullfilled, such as victim restitution).

However, whatever happens on a case turns up on a rap sheet. Rap sheets are protected documents, but some employers might want a waiver from you. Also, in this electronic age, investigative data bases collect court records that will come up during a complete and professional background investigation.

The only way to avoid an entry on your rap sheet (other than error by a clerk) is a Finding of Factual Innocence. That is a rare thing with a very high burden of proof.

Of course, you will only get an informed and entirely accurate answer by talking to your lawyer, who will know the local courts and be able to evaluate your case.

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